Education has always been important to Amy and Phil Speiser. The couple met as undergraduate students while both attending Drexel University in Philadelphia, and it was there that they decided they wanted to someday run a business of their own. Since that time, they’ve both built successful careers in the business and marketing industries. And now, they’re using the skills they’ve garnered throughout the years to operate a Lightbridge Academy in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, which recently opened in March 2017.
Having two daughters of their own, getting access to the best education was always a top priority for the Speiser’s and a major reason they’ve stayed in the South Jersey area for more than 15 years. However, before their children were old enough for school, they turned their eyes towards finding an early educational program that would give them an advantage in the coming years. But as they searched through day care options, they found that choices were scarce.
“We went from in-home care to a model that incorporated some elements of education child care. We definitely settled for what was close by and familiar and safe for our children,” said Amy. “Being working parents and having no family network to rely on, looking back, we wished there was a solution like Lightbridge Academy when we were in the market for child care.”
Both Amy and Phil’s families have a history of owning and managing businesses, and they say that they inherited that desire to one day do the same. More importantly, they have always had aspirations to both work with children and create a lasting and meaningful business that they could one day pass down to their two daughters.
For the Speiser’s, Lightbridge Academy was the perfect fit. When looking for business opportunities, they were very impressed with Lightbridge Academy’s Founder and CEO, Guy Falzarano, and his high standard of excellence for the brand. The couple particularly liked the physical layout and aesthetic of the facilities, and felt that the model was knowledgeably designed by a corporate team that understood every aspect of the evolving industry.
“We looked at many different franchise opportunities and businesses and, ultimately, we landed on Lightbridge Academy as the franchise that resonated most with us because of our shared beliefs. Amy and I really value that, at Lightbridge, we can build a team where our family is made to be our top priority. We really enjoyed working with the corporate team, and I believe they hold an extremely high standard of excellence,” Phil said. “Amy and I push excellence in ourselves and we expect it from those around us, and that’s what we got out of Lightbridge. The facilities are beautiful, the model is seamless, and they know this business inside and out--which is comforting since they are only just making their mark in the child care industry.”
Another aspect that really set Lightbridge Academy apart from other early education facilities was the flexibility of the curriculum.
“At Lightbridge Academy, the curriculum is designed to meet the needs of the individual child. At a lot of other companies, the curriculum is inflexible, they show you how to teach it and you’re nothing more than a downstream implementer. Lightbridge Academy allows teachers to teach and gives you the tools and developmental guidelines that need to be met, but allows the freedom to implement the curriculum to how the child learns best,” said Phil.
With the recent opening of their location in Mount Laurel, they hope to provide reliable and trusted educational child care to the residents of South Jersey while also giving back to the community through the Lightbridge Foundation -- a charitable branch of Lightbridge Academy that raises money to help parents overcome obstacles and better the lives of their children. At the same time, they hope that their business will provide an opportunity for their children to carry on their legacy years down the road.
The Speiser’s new location in New Jersey comes as Lightbridge Academy keeps pushing forward on development throughout the country’s Northeastern states. In 2016, Lightbridge Academy celebrated the opening of new centers in three states, and franchise agreements were signed in four mid-Atlantic states. In addition to its 13 company-owned centers, the brand has sold 89 franchises. A total of 26 centers are open, and by the end of 2017, the brand expects to have nearly 40 centers up and running.
And now, as Lightbridge Academy continues to expand their unique child care franchise concept, the company is looking for franchisees like the Speiser’s who not only will embrace the company’s core values but also possess strong leadership and business acumen, believe in the brand and demonstrate the desire to follow a proven system. The total investment for new franchisees ranges from $502,750 to $686,250, depending on the size of the facility.
“Our experience so far with Lightbridge Academy has been incredible. They’ve been so honest, helpful and transparent throughout the whole process. And we’re so excited to bring the kind of child care center to our community that we had always dreamed about having for our own kids,” Amy said. “We’re thrilled to have made the leap into business ownership with such a rewarding brand.”